The Idea of Aasha

Aasha : hope for humanity and earth

what did trigger our project?

I don’t know if you’ve already had this feeling, the feeling of questioning yourself about what is your purpose on this planet?

My girlfriend Laura and I had it right after having watched the movie « Tomorrow ». In a way it changed our life. Without promoting this great movie 😉 it investigates concrete solutions to environmental and social challenges, but instead of doing it in a catastrophism approach, Tomorrow is optimistic!

So in our case, we watched the movie in December 2015 and right after we had a mix feeling, like kids going to Disneyland for the first time: full of joy but wondering where to start.

We discussed for days about it, always full of hope and with the desire to do something (considering it’s easy to say ‘it’s because of them’) we realized even small things such as going to the market with your kraft bags, avoiding processed food or switch to green energy supplier are very easy and simple things which made us feel better but also better for the environment.

Quickly, we also visualized it’s a kind of continuous improvement series: you do one thing you feel good so then you want to do more and more and more. If everyone starts with those small steps the results will be amazing, at least better than looking back and complain.

who are we?

My name is Thomas Deflandre, according to my mother I’m overactive, one anecdote she likes to tell about me is that when I was younger the only way to calm me was to ask me to run 5 times around the garden (similar to a soccer field)… so overactive I don’t think so, but for sure, I can’t stay without doing anything and if there is one way to challenge myself I’ll do it.

My girlfriend is Laura Ponchel, I let her introduce herself: I am Laura, second girl of my family. According to my mother (and my sister and my father and my friends… yes okay everybody) I am over emotional, so once I start to be interested in something, I explore it completely to try to understand it. My camera is my way to register all the things which matter to me, but I have to say it is also a kind of a protection between what is going on in front of me and myself. Photography is very important to me, I think you will notice that further!

We love to travel to meet new culture in all aspects: nature, architecture, food,…but above everything we love meeting people, spend time with them and understand what are their stories.

We can consider we have a confortable life, I’m business strategy manager, Laura is professional photographer, we live in Amsterdam, however from time to time we look at each other and think about what is the meaning of what we do? I’ve to admit this thinking mostly comes from Laura but anyway as a couple we discuss about it 🙂

When we see the planet is over-used: fossil energy, climate change, deforestation for intensive farming, waste, pollution,… and when we see that people are dying due to starvation, diseases, political wars,… then we really question ourselves about what could, should we do?

The goal of Aasha Mission:

This was really the genesis of the reflection, what can we do? And we thought about Tomorrow to finally come up with the idea to visit NGO projects, to make reportages of great initiatives done in several countries with the ambition to help them in their communication and support them to share the great work they are doing.

So we are now taking a 3 months break from our daily routine and spend time on something meaningful for humans and Earth.

Laura being part of Impact Hub and myself working for Signify both companies are highly active in social and environmental projects so thanks to our network we managed to identify a list of 10 exciting projects to support about schools for disadvantaged, off-grid initiatives, power to woman, energy management and plenty of great initiatives.

Projects list (new ones will come soon)

We decided to name this project AASHA MISSION since aasha means hope in Hindi. This is exactly the message we want to share, we want to spread their voices, the amazing actions of those organizations and people behind, that there is HOPE outside and everyone should know! Spread the word, spread the hope.

We hope our work will help them to get more funds, materials or partnerships and people we’ll understand small actions might lead to a greater world.

This is the first post from a long series where we’ll document our journey.

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